October 4, 2022

Spectator Interference?

Fan whiffs on ball, but umpires called interference....what happens to the runners?

Spectator Interference?

The Twins and Tigers played at Comerica Park on September 30, 2022.

In the top of the fourth inning the Twins had Gio Urshela on first base and one out when Ryan Jeffers, facing Tyler Alexander, hit a shot down the left field line. With the naked eye it appeared that the ball touched one fan, if not two.

The umpires ruled spectator interference and kept Urshela at third base and Jeffers at second. But Twins manager Rocco Baldelli challenged the call claiming there was no interference. The Replay Official agreed with Baldelli and awarded Jefffers third base.  Urshela was allowed to score, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead in a game they won, 7-0.

Ruleball Comments

  1. When spectator interference occurs, the umpires or the Replay Official, can award the runner/s the bases they would have made had there been no interference.
  2. In the above play, because the umpires incorrectly called spectator interference and killed the play, the Replay Official is empowered to overturn the call and place the runners in his judgment the base they would have reached had the proper call been originally made.
  3. It is a common misconception that spectator interference carries a two-base award such as a book-rule double, commonly referred to as a ground-rule double. 


Rich Marazzi 

Rules consultant/analyst:  D’backs, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Bally Sports, ESPN, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago. 

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